The Idaho Commission on the Arts, in partnership with the State Department of Education, put the annual, jointly planned, ArtsPowered Schools Institute on hold for summer 2010. In its place the partners worked with a group of multi-year ArtsPowered Schools participants to polish an aspect of Institute work at a deep level. The idea was to engage five small teams (one principal, one classroom teacher from the school, and one ICA teaching artist) in a facilitated protocol to refine the process of developing artist in residence projects that would include
- IN-DEPTH INTEGRATION OF THE ARTS AND THE SCHOOLS’ LITERACY GOALS,
- A FOCUS ON ENGAGING STUDENTS IN WORK THAT “MATTERS” TO THEM, AND
- A COMMITMENT TO NOTICING AND DOCUMENTING THE IMPACT OF THE RESIDENCY WORK ON STUDENT LEARNING.
The starting point for our “Greenhouse” year was a two-day meeting in Boise, where the five schools each worked with an Idaho Commission on the Arts teaching artist to co-create outstanding artist-in-residence projects. The Greenhouse teams included Troy Elementary, Valley Elementary, Idaho Arts Charter, Sorenson Magnet School, and Christine Donnell School of the Arts and their respective ICA teaching artists Lizette Fife, Norma Pintar, Sue Rooke, Ben Love, and LiAnne Hunt. These individuals participated in a facilitated planning process led by nationally recognized arts education consultant, Deb Brzoska, which was designed to yield the most effective discussion possible.
All protocol participants were encouraged to approach the planning process as a creative brainstorming event, guiding cooperative interaction toward maximizing arts teaching and learning during artist-in-residence projects. In preparation, teachers were asked to share the most important literacy challenges they and their students would face in the coming school year. The interactive team process began with the teacher and principal opening the conversation with “Let me tell you about our school” followed by “Let me tell you about my work as an artist.” The discussions proceeded to classroom context and learning challenges and identifying the power of the art form to meet these challenges.
Greenhouse residency plans, submitted in October, reflect the kinds of experiences we want for Idaho students. The collaboration between practicing artists and passionate educators resulted in a personalization of the residencies around work that “matters” to students and that increased the value of the experience for students, teachers, and artists, exponentially. Greenhouse Residency plans are currently being carried out in Troy, Hazelton. Nampa, Coeur d ‘Alene, and Meridian.
As a community of learners at ArtsPowered Schools and the Greenhouse, dedicated participants have all worked together to better understand the qualities and characteristics needed to create outstanding arts teaching and learning experiences for Idaho students. Good for us! And good for students! All Greenhouse Residency teams are currently documenting student learning, collecting samples of student work, and are participating in a reflection of their cooperative work in order to tell the story of the student learning.
Each Greenhouse Residency team will be presenting shared observations and documentation of residency students and their learning as a part of ArtsPowered Schools – Summer 2011.